Blandford Church before Restoration - April, 1865
From the spring of 1864 until the spring of 1865 residents of Petersburg were subjected to the longest military siege on United States soil. The citizens of Petersburg endured scarce supplies and frequent shell attacks from Federal forces targeting railroads, bridges and streets that served Confederate supply lines. The Siege Museum located at 15 West Bank Street in Old Towne Petersburg has recently added to its exhibition of Civil War artifacts a collection of forty-two photographs as a new semi-permanant exhibit.
Military telegraph operators at headquarters, Petersburg, August 1864
By the outbreak of the Civil War, photography had become both an established art form and a commercial enterprise in the United States. In 1861 it is estimated that there were over three thousand photographers in the business. Between 1861 and 1865 these photographers produced roughly one million images related to the Civil War. While the majority of images produced were portraits of men in uniform, a handful of photographers were also interested in visually recording battlefields, towns and the effects of war on both military and civilian life.
Several of these photographers are represented in the exhibition to include Alexander Gardner and Timothy O'Sullivan both of whom were members of Mathew Brady's studio during the first years of the war.
Damaged House,ca. 1865. Petersburg
Photographs in the exhibition document a number of buildings that were converted for military use- several still stand in Petersburg today.
Many photographs in the exhibition also document daily military life of Federal and Confederate troops positioned in forts around the outskirts of Petersburg.
The Siege Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on the second Friday of the month for "Friday for the Arts" from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Admission is $5.00 for adults, $4.00 for seniors, active duty military and children ages 7-12. Admission is free to Petersburg residents.
For more information call (804) 733-2427. Email is